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Channel Four sticks with ‘Big Brother’

Contract with Endemol extended to 2010

LONDON — U.K. web Channel 4 has recommissioned reality TV hit “Big Brother” in a three-year deal running to 2010, the format’s Dutch-based owner Endemol announced Friday.

According to U.K. media reports, rival broadcaster ITV had also put in a bid, ahead of the expiry of Channel 4’s current con-tract for the show in 2007.

First launched in the U.K. in July 2000, a year after its world debut in the Netherlands, “Big Brother” remains a huge hit with British audiences.

“Big Brother 7” attracted an average of 4.7 million viewers, an increase on the previous series, which garnered 4.5 million viewers.

Endemol said the deal included spinoff programs such as “Celebrity Big Brother,” “Big Brother’s Little Brother” and “Big Brother’s Big Mouth.”

The U.K. version of “Big Brother” is a Brighter Pictures Production, a subsid of Endemol UK.